One of the best things about blogging is getting to know people from all over the world. I love the conversations with others who have similar eagerness to let go of old patterns, habits and beliefs and who are keen to grow in compassion, both for others and themselves. I love how something I write can spark a realisation in someone else, who then writes a post that sparks a realisation in me. This way everyone benefits!
A wonderful blogger with whom I often have great conversations is Samantha Ryan, who blogs at The Marble Jar. Recently Samantha invited me to take part in a blog tour and included me in her post Four Encouraging and Inspirational Bloggers You MUST Read. I feel extremely honoured to have been included.
And now, it’s my turn to keep the tour going and to share with you three more bloggers – all of them lovely women writing with insight and wisdom and sometimes lashings of humour! Although we haven’t met in person, and are an ocean (or even oceans) apart in “real life,” there is far more that connects all the bloggers I’ve included here than separates us.
In her post last week, Samantha wrote:
I really want to seek the people who resonate with my desire to identify what isn’t serving myself and my family and then change it. Those risk takers who are willing to buck the popular belief models and seek what is right. And if in the process we can laugh at ourselves? That would be gravy.
I totally agree with Samantha. Letting go of old beliefs and habits that no longer serve me is an on-going process for me. The more I do it though, the more content I feel and the more life becomes free. I love that Samantha also includes laughing at ourselves – I haven’t always found this easy to do, though I think I’m getting better at it, and I’m learning from some masters as you will see when you click on one or two of the posts I’ve highlighted.
First though, I want to get all serious and tell you about a post by Samantha that was probably the first one where we really began to know each other. We’d both been in a blogging group for a wee while and then Samantha posted How I Broke My Kid and How I’m Fixing It. I loved that she recognised that how she’d approached some aspects of parenting had an impact on her son – and instead of blaming and punishing herself she began making changes to how she listened to him and how she spoke to him, regaining his trust. In that article Samantha wrote:
For every chance I get to earn hearing his problems, or be there to help him solve them I am grateful.
What a wonderful way to look at parenting – to feel gratitude at being able to help our children with their problems!
Much as I’d love to go on telling you about the wonderful women featured here, first as part of this blog tour post it’s customary to answer four questions about my writing process. So here goes:
1. What am I working on?
I am working on a number of projects – I have 2 part finished novels, some short stories, one partly written non-fiction book, and another at idea level. Before my father’s death we were recording his memories from when he was a youth of seventeen and working at the construction of a radar station during World War II. I’d still like to complete what we started, as best I can. Then of course, I am also working on this blog, and on my writing blog. I’ve recently moved that from Blogger to WordPress and my own domain, yvonnespence.com . There’s still quite a bit of organisation to do on it, as well as write posts.
For Inquiring Parent, I don’t tend to plan many posts in advance, but write what crops up spontaneously, or in response to questions from others. That could be about to change. I’ve recently read ebooks and articles about blogging, and I now realise ways I could improve both my blogs, so that’s an ongoing project. As part of that improvement, I aim to plan more posts, so that my schedule is more consistent. I already have several partly written posts on various emotions, and on going beyond the idea of “positive thinking = good, negative thinking = bad” to a more holistic way of living.
2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Oh, gosh! You tell me please, dear reader!
Okay, let’s try. My genre for this blog (and for most of my writing) is mindful living. I hope that Inquiring Parent creates a bridge between “expert” bloggers and people who have just beginning to learn and practice mindfulness. I’m not an expert, and I don’t float around on a cloud of bliss all day long, but I have been practising The Work of Byron Katie for a decade, and the Sedona Method for several years, and these have radically changed how I view the world. So I’m in an in-between state, where I often feel what I can only describe as a sense of inner peace, even if on the outside I can still feel turmoil. That’s where the bridge comes in – my hope is that my writing can be useful to those beginning out on this path. (In the same way that sometimes when I ask an web expert a question and need someone else to explain the answer, maybe I’m able to help beginners understand the answers of the mindfulness experts.)
3. Why do I write/create what I do?
This one is easy to answer! My life has been transformed in every way by learning mindfulness, by releasing emotions and by questioning stressful beliefs. I love sharing what has helped me become calmer, kinder and happier. And that has nothing to do with me as a person, but everything to do with letting go of what gets in the way of being who we really are. (That’s love, just in case you wonder!)
4. How does my writing/creating process work?
How I write depends on what I write – for fiction I almost always start with pen and paper, whereas I sometimes write blog posts and articles all the way through on a computer. But not always.
Sometimes bits of a post come spontaneously into my mind, sometimes an entire post just flows. Other times I start with an idea, write a bit, do research, write some more. I often outline this kind of post first, but even then my writing process tends to be quite fluid. I work best when I allow the writing to come pouring out, and shape it afterwards. If I try to impose a structure too soon this can stifle the more creative and intuitive part of my mind – and that’s the part that produces my best fiction and more insightful posts. So I guess my writing process looks a bit haphazard.
If I find myself stuck for any reason, I pause and notice the thoughts that are running through my mind. (Usually it will be something along the lines of, “You can’t write that; people will think you are an idiot.”) Then I use one (or both) of the processes I’ve mentioned above to to let go and get writing anyway!
And now the bloggers!
Now that we’ve got my stuff out of the way, here’s the part I’m really excited about – telling you about some more bloggers I adore.
Lizzy Allan of Muddle-Headed Mama
Lizzy Allan is a single mum of two from Western Australia, a high school teacher by trade and a gypsy by nature. She blogs about her frequent collisons with chaos, her memories of living in Sweden and Sicily and her eccentric family over at The Muddle-Headed Mamma.
Two of her favourite posts are I Meant to Make a Friend at Mothers’ Group and A Cautionary Tale About Pyjamas and the School Run.
The latter is another great example of a blogger laughing at herself, and the former is one I can relate to. Years ago, when our first daughter was a baby, we moved several hundred miles and I meant to make a friend at Mothers’ Group – but it didn’t work out for me either.
But I can’t leave Lizzy without including my favourite of her posts (which has also been featured on Finding Ninee.) It is: The Bikini Bridge and the Beauty of Hindsight. Here are two sentences from that post, that are all we ever really need to remember:
You are enough. You have always been enough.
Thank you Lizzy, for that reminder.
She writes about her two boys, 5 Year Old and Almost Two Year Old and occasionally her husband, Thirty Eight Year Old.
In her post, Closest to me Katia writes about her experience of moving and how it made her feel smaller. She says, “I blog because writing brought friends who think and feel like me into my life.”
In It’s Complicated Raising My Sons as an Outsider, Katia writes beautifully about what it is like raise children in a different country and using a different language to that you grew up with. She writes about her doubts about starting to write in a language (English) that wasn’t her first and how she’s surprised herself as a parent. Katia says:
Writing crystallizes the unexpected for me and sheds different lights on it.
If you don’t already know these wonderful women, do check out their blogs. You will learn and you will laugh.